I’ll never forget that day – Nov 16th 1997 – the Sheraton Hotel - Spokane, Washington. I was presenting a paper for the Cetacean Institute at the 30th Convention of Sea Creature Psychiatry. My audience sat rapt, clinging to every word, barnacles on the hull of enlightenment. A loud, repetitive thumping reverberated from the walls. Soon, its pulsing filled the room. With each beat, scores of empty metal folding chairs vibrated their own response by performing their macabre dance. The event would have been better attended had it been scheduled before lunch.
Unbeknownst to any of us was that we were sharing the Sheraton with conventioneers from the “HardCore Posse.” I learned later that these folks were an amalgam of filmmakers and rap music aficionados. Hence, the throbbing tones and somewhat scurrilous lyrics effectively ended my presentation, scattering attendees to the hotel lounge and points beyond.
Like a mating jellyfish, a seed was planted that day.
With a little Internet research and a few phone calls, I was able to ascertain that the next convention of the Hardcore Posse would be in Indianapolis - a year later. And I would be there.
I prepared. What a year it was - research, experimentation, focus groups. And I immersed myself in the urban culture – always with the sea and its beneficence a landline. To tell the story would take volumes. I will share some highlights – rapping a rhyme about the Beluga Whale to a less-than-friendly nightclub audience – begrudgingly with repeated encores. Then there was my debut in an “adult” film. I played a hardened addict of some ilk. The director allowed me to present certain parts of my paper (the one that I tried to give in Spokane earlier) as dialog. He allowed me to do this in exchange for compliance with his direction in performing certain acts in the production. I think it was win-win for everyone. Look for THE C IS A CRUEL MATTRESS in your local video boutique.
The trust had been built and I was able to present at the Hardcore Posse’s next gathering. I won’t go into the details. You can read the coroner’s report and all the associated law enforcement briefs.
Since then, I have been on a crusade. The seven attributes of the narwhal have saved many an urban youth. For this, I make no apology. And nether should you. The work needs to be done. You can start by buying a t-shirt. Need more convincing? Please Consult REMEMBER NARWHAL!